I’m not sure if its just the season for accelerated banana growth here or what, but all of the banana trees around our neighborhood are full of bananas. The banana trees produce a special stem and once the bunch of bananas is ripe the whole stem has to be cut off of the tree. Something else that I’m not sure of is how long it actually takes for a bunch of bananas to ripen. There are a couple of a bunches on the trees that haven’t ripened in over two months.
My neighbors left town two weeks ago and I noticed that they had some bananas in easy reaching distance. I decided to cut a few off of the bunch to see if they would ripen. We laid them out in the sun for two days and they did ripen! So for the following week the kids and I would walk by the neighbors to steal a few bananas, throw them under the stroller, and continue innocently on down the road to feed the chickens. Then we had a couple of big storms blow through and the two stems that were growing in the neighbors tree were bent and broken in the wind. When my neighbor came home he cut both bunches down and brought one over to us.
At first the bananas ripened slowly and only a couple at a time were ripe enough to eat. After about 6 days of being off the tree they all started turning quickly, so quickly that I was running out of things to do with them! There were a couple of days when we had banana smoothies for breakfast, peanut butter and banana pitas for lunch, and curried bananas for dinner! I’ve always thought that a banana is the perfect breakfast food; its naturally sweet, hearty and filling, and comes in its own wrapper. I’ve heard that bananas are high in carbohydrates (and sugar) and so I’ve never served them more than once per day. I have recently discovered, however, that in spite of their sweetness their glycemic load (GL) is only moderate-to-low. Bananas have a lot of other great things going for them (or you): fiber, B6, vitamin C, potassium, and prebiotics. The hitch is that my landlord informed me this weekend that the banana trees around here are a banana-plantain hybrid. He called them ‘Plantana’. I can’t find anything about plantanas on wiki or nutritiondata.com but I think plantains have a higher GL than bananas. Not such a big deal for the kids but wish I had known that info two-weeks worth of smoothies ago. Oh well!
‘Waste not, want not’, so I had to get creative to figure out how to use all of those bananas, especially the ones that were overripe. There has been lots of good eating going on but I hope I can eat my bananas a few at a time from here on out.